About 100 people attended the special meeting May 11 at Our Lady of Sorrows, 104-11 37th Ave. in Corona, to air complaints in their native tongue to officers of the 110th and 115th Precincts, which cover Elmhurst, East Elmhurst, Corona and Jackson Heights. The event was organized, according to one participant, in an effort to lessen the divide between Spanish- speaking residents who may feel intimidated by the English-language monthly community council meetings or by the police in general."I think it went very well," said Sgt. Chris Chappelle, the school sergeant for the 110th Precinct, who handled most of the questions related to his district. "Several people said they would like to hold more" such forums, he said Monday, although none had yet been scheduled.Officer William Wilkerson, community affairs officer for the 115th Precinct, noted during the meeting that crime in the area continues to fall.According to police records, crime has fallen by 15 percent over the last four years in the 115th Precinct.Wilkerson made multiple requests throughout the meeting for anonymous tips, which he said are needed to fight fly-by-night operations such as drug or prostitution houses that can pop up quickly.He also sought to allay fears of deportation, urging repeatedly that officers are not supposed to inquire about a detainee's immigration status.But the audience seemed to remain concerned because a community organizer who spoke toward the end of the hour-and-a-half meeting was applauded after saying that a Chinese deliveryman who was stranded in a broken elevator for days in the Bronx is facing deportation after the police apparently disclosed his immigration status to reporters.Ralph Moreno, executive director of the Jackson Heights Action Group, told the Times-Ledger he thought the meeting was a good idea and he hoped more would be held."There is a lot of crime in the community that is not being reported," he said, noting the continued immigrant growth in the local population.One complaint Moreno said he had heard, however, was that "it should have been more open to the public," adding that he had not been given an opportunity to address the group.___
©2005 Community News Group
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